Bash, page 3

Many of the "VIPs" had congregated in the restaurant by this time, so it seemed like an appropriate moment to ask people to step up to the microphone and share some of their memories of Dennis with the rest of us. Jon comfortably wore the master of ceremonies mantle as, one by one, friends and family shared some of their favorite Denny anecdotes, and talked about the times they spent with him. Those who shared their stories with us included Eddy Medora, Marilyn Wilson Rutheford, Diane Rovell, Ginger Blake, Stephen Kalinich, David Marks, Garby Leon, Billy Hinsche, and a few other friends. It was truly a memorable series of speeches.

Eddy Medora





Garby Leon

David Marks

Billy Hinsche

With the phrase "...and now, the man who wrote Little Bird", Jon introduced Steve Kalinich to the audience. Steve said a few words about working and spending time with Dennis, and then launched into a powerful performance of a poem he introduced as "Galactic Symphony". The poem started out quietly -- thoughtfully, but soon began to build in intensity. The momentum of the reading increased until Steven's words were landing on the ear with a driving, rhythmic force. There was a sense of awe in the room. Steve had the crowd in the palm of his hand. Many felt that his performance served as a sort of culmination of the day. Not only was it a powerful poem, but the performance seemed to give voice to others that felt such a strong spirit in the place, but might not have known quite how to articulate it. The power of that moment seemed not to emerge from sentimentality or nostalgia, but out of pure, honest artistic expression. What a strong summation of the Day's events.

The following is a transcript of the poem Steven Kalinich performed during his turn at the mic. He ended the reading with the simple phrase "I love you Dennis".




Never before in Galactic span
Has been told the Tale of Man.
Defies all bound, defies all space,
Upsets all theories, and in their place
Puts wisdom of the ancient race.
Stories of creation thrown,
Of man, who left his ancient home,
From stars amongst the Universe,
And found the earth alone.
Void of purpose, without form,
Coldness, barren, uniform.
No room to differentiate
Choice from pre-determined fate …
And save the world before it is too late!
For mankind since time has opened its book,
For a solution to problems and savagery looks,
And each age has the answer …
And each age the road will pave …
And all our undaunted saviors
Lead us to that same grave.
So where can we find salvation?
Can we discern within the motion of the tree within the quake
The presence or the power through which
Earthly things take shape?
Can we know from the pull of the planet and the stars
The life within the atom, the life we know as ours?
Did man in his greatest age
Through every Prophet and every sage
Ever calm the unstoppable rage?
The ruthless destruction, the war, the hate.
The cheating and the lies.
Did anyone stop the horror through the earthly wise?
Did anyone you know of
Tell the roses how to grow?
Show the harmony of maple leaves
Teach the rivers rhythmic flow?
Or have you heard of any man of earthly fame,
Claim to be the Creator of his father’s or his own name?
Surely none can answer to the questions that we ask
Surely no mortal is equal to the task.
Only something far beyond anything we see
Could create beauty to make things beautiful,
Create music for man to make a symphony
The principle of music comes before music
The principle of art comes before art
The laws and harmonies are existent
Yet man must hear them in his heart
For all our worldly knowledge, all libraries and all brains
Cannot in one instance heal all the World’s pains
Love alone can heal!
Love alone can mend!
Love alone can bind!
Love alone gives life meaning!
Love alone gives life … anticipation … of a greater time.

©2001 Stephen John Kalinich

Steven has said that "Galactic Symphony" was a poem that Dennis loved, and they had planned to put it to music. This performance was a fitting tribute. As Jon Stebbins later reported: " was his delivery that was mind boggling. By mid-poem he had the entire crowd at Chez Jay's hanging on every word, the intensity building, and then his emotions beginning to break down, trembling, physically barely hanging on, just managing to get out the last words without collapsing, but maintaining so much power and dignity, and finally as the last words fell into the room he whispered "I love you Dennis..." There was an audible gasp from the audience as if they couldn't quite believe they had witnessed something with such emotional impact...and then thundering applause, which was pure release and celebration. A moment I'll never forget. Thanks Stephen!"

Out in the parking lot, raffle tickets had been selling at a fast clip, and the time had finally arrived to draw the winning ticket. The raffle prize consisted of rare Beach Boys memorabilia including a Two Lane Blacktop Collector's Edition Tin, Press Packets and Photos, and other assorted items. Betty Collignon brought the basket to the center of the floor, and Susan Lang did the honors of the draw. The lucky raffle participant was non other than Lee Dempsey, founder of Endless Summer Quarterly Right, Betty Collignon prepares to draw the winning raffle ticket.

At this point in the evening it seemed only fitting that we collectively honor the man who provided the unique location where such an event as this could only happen. Jay Fiondella has been the owner of historic Chez Jay's for over 44 years. In that time, his establishment has seen a lot of great moments(soon to be documented in a handsome book by Jon Stebbins - see link below), and the Dennis Wilson Bash was one more notable day in this impressive history. Jon summoned Jay up to the microphone, and Jon and Betty presented Jay with a beautiful plaque commemorating the event. Inscribed on the plaque were the words "Thanks for giving us a great place to party.", along with the date, Dennis Wilson Bash, an official poster and two signature sticks mounted in the frame. Jay said a few words about how much he enjoyed spending time with Dennis at the restaurant, and how much he loved him as a friend. Jay seemed honestly moved by the moment as the crowd expressed their appreciation.

It was a surprise to many in the crowd that 5:00 had arrived, and it was time to make Chez Jay's look like a restaurant again. The crowd moved outside to gather for the group photo (see next page), while others moved the tables back into position for the dinner crowd, which included many of the Bash attendees who had made reservations. People huddled in the parking lot and on the sidewalk in front, making dinner plans, hugging, trading addresses, phone numbers, and well-wishes. Some wandered back into the restaurant to get a table, or just to get one last glance of the Denny-covered walls. A sense of well-being, love, thankfulness, and maybe even a little relief seemed to settle on the crowd as they said their goodbys.

Said Jon Stebbins later: "Bobby Figuroa's brother Junior ended my night by idling by me in the parking lot, behind the wheel of his gleaming black '69 Charger(a car that Dennis loved and rode in w/Junior often). Junior grinned at me and Mike Meros in mid-conversation, brought the RPM's of his built 383 mopar monster up a little, and smoked the tires across the Chez Jay's parking lot into the night. Dennis was smiling."


For more photos, Continue to page 4...

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